11 November 2022

Bharat Jodo Diary (Midday)


By Pawan Khera and Manish Khanduri

Before the Yatris commenced their early morning walk from Dabhad to Ardhapur, their usual flag raising ceremony had two additions. One was commemorating the birth anniversary of Maulana Azad. And the other was a two minute silence for a fellow volunteer Yatri P. Ganeshan who tragically passed away in a road accident. We will write more about the latter in our next report.

For Bharat Yatri Kiran Chettri, the walk was an experience made easier by the slowly changing weather, as the mornings become cooler. Also worthy of note were the many performing artists along the way, one of which groups struck him particularly. “They were a tribal community dancing with peacock feathers – I found out it was the Karma dance form of the native adivasi community.” Later on he was welcomed by the Dhankar community, who applied the traditional tik, made of turmeric powder, on his forehead. “Walking through different states is giving me so much exposure to different cultures, it’s like I’m learning something new daily”. Indeed, travel is the best of all educations.

For Bharat Yatri Kiran Chettri the yatra is a journey of discovery, where he is learning about different peoples, communities and gaining new perspectives.

Speaking at a press conference at noon, Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar responded to the allegations that this was a Bharat Todo (break) Yatra. In fact, he said if you looked at history, “The Hindu Mahasabha, a close associate of the BJP, had allied itself with the two nation theory espousing Jinnah,” in their desire to form a government.

Along the way the Yatris were accompanied by a group of retired judges and advocates, and also a delegation from the Maulana Azad Vichar Manch.

Among the other walkers, of particular note were Muskan Mourya, the only known visually impaired journalist in the country and Gaurav Malak who has only 10% vision who accompanied us. We salute you both.

Currently in the state of Maharastra, the Bharat Jodo Yatra is a five month, 3500 kilometre long Padyatra from Kanyakumari in the South of India to Kashmir up in the North. It is part of the party’s national mass outreach program aimed at highlighting social polarisation, economic inequalities and political centralisation.

Ground research: Aparna Ashwarya (INC Communications Department research team)


Midday Travel Facts:

1. Nanded district has been a major place for Sikh pilgrimage. The tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh made Nanded his permanent abode and passed the Guruship to Guru Granth Sahib before his death in 1708 in Nanded.
2. The district is also known for various Sufi Shrines, Kandhar Fort, and the beautiful waterfall of Sahastrakund.
3. Nanded is the birthplace of three renowned Maratha Poets- Vishnupant Shesa, Ragunath Shesa and Vaman Pandit.
4. The 700-year-old treatise Leela Charita, written by Mhaimbhatta mentions the district of Nanded and its irrigation practices.
5. The district is slowly emerging as an industrial centre, namely cotton spinning and weaving mills.